The women of WIPIN rock big time! WIPIN is Women in the Pet Industry. I am a member. A proud member.
This past weekend I experienced such profound acceptance by a large group of business women, it made me glad to be alive. Over and over, at the WIPIN conference in Portland, OR, women were saying, "Everyone here is so friendly! I am amazed by how giving they all are!"
That's the catch-phrase of the weekend... Giving. The conference itself was about Growing. But we don't grow until we GIVE, isn't that true? Each woman brought a unique set of ideas with her. Each woman was an expert in her field...not the kind of expert with a lot of initials after her name, but an expert in how to get it done...by doing it. By putting a little elbow grease in it. By recognizing the need to ask for help or give help.
My team from BlogPaws was there in spades... helping galore! Carol Bryant spoke and so did Robbi Hess, and in-between speaking, they were learning, sharing, and giving... always giving! I am so blessed to be among women like these women!
Sessions at the conference focused on building a bigger, better, stronger business. Tools to do so were shared by each presenter I saw. Lots of tools! Lots of information! A wealth of learning. I noticed women taking notes, or not taking notes...because they were so intent on what the speaker was sharing. I heard women exclaiming their amazement over the content ...or, over each other. And yes, we checked out shoes and bags and jewelry, too!
And, I must say that Shawna Schuh went above and beyond, with her team, to make this event a winner. It's not easy corraling a group of over 200 women into one room, where you can address them individually. Or, make them feel you are addressing them individually. But, she did it. She struts her stuff throughout the hotel halls with the confidence of a true Diva, with the knowledge that a conference like this, focused on women in the pet industry, is not only necessary, it's obligatory. Truly. Throughout the weekend, as I looked around the rooms (session rooms, the general session room, the lobby, the hall, the ladies room, for heaven's sake!), I saw women aborbing the very essence of networking and togetherness... lead by a dynamic woman who is quickly becoming an icon in this industry.
The conference did more than help women achieve better learning, in order to take their businesses to heights they were afraid to even dream of... it gave a small group of women the status of celebrity. A small group of women were Finalists in the Woman of the Year ceremony. I was one of them. I got the royal treatment from Shawna and team, along with my other finalists... and, by the way, I was honored to be among them; each one was a leader in her field of endeavor, and eager to show the rest of the members in attendance how to become strong, powerful women in their fields, also.
The ultimate prize, Woman of the Year, was given to an outstanding woman of accomplishment who radiates giving. Lorien Clemens, Director of Marketing for PetHub where "lost pets get home faster" has always impressed me as a mover and shaker, and someone other women can look up to. She doesn't just work to save lost pets, she is always looking for other women who need a lift, who want to achieve but are 'stuck', or who just want another professional to bounce ideas off of. I love her smile and her laughter and the way she looks at life - as a great experience worth every second of her attention. She was and is PRESENT in all she does.
What a fantastic weekend! If you're in the pet business, you should have been there. If you're in business, and can help women with expertise to take their dreams higher, you should have been there. If you're hoping to meet more like-minded women with a purpose, in the pet industry, you should be there...now. It's a membership and yes, it culminates yearly in a conference, but WIPIN has much to offer, all year long.
I am already planning for next year. Who's coming with me?
p.s. I won a Fantastic sterling silver and amethyst heart-paw necklace by Elena Friegner and matching shelter donation from Good News for Pets, too! Here I am with Lea-Ann Germinder showing off the official document of my winnings. Will share the new bling when it arrives! Donation will go to Longmont Humane, of course!